HUMAN RIGHTS CHRONOLOGY: CHINA , HONG KONG, TIBET
November - December 1998
November 2, 1998 - Wang Youcai detained
Police in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, detained China Democracy Party (CDP) founder Wang Youcai again for
allegedly violating the terms of his parole. During U.S. President Bill Clinton's June 1998 visit, Wang, a Tiananmen
Square student leader, applied for permission to register the first opposition party in China since the founding of the
People's Republic on October 1, 1949. He was detained on July 10, formally arrested later in the month, and
released on parole on August 29. Wang had resumed his pro-democracy activities in 1998, signing petitions to the
Chinese government protesting the Tiananmen verdict, calling for the release of political prisoners and an end to
corruption and to reeducation through labor, a widely practiced system of administrative detention. In April 1998, to
keep him from contact with current students, security officers prevented Wang from attending Beijing University's
100th anniversary celebration.
November 2, 1998 - Sichuan CDP activists detained
Public Security Bureau officials in Chongqing, Sichuan province, briefly detained six dissidents, including longtime
activist Deng Huanwu, for their attempts to organize a China Democracy Party branch in Sichuan.
November 5, 1998 - Police break up second religious meeting
On October 29 and November 5, police officers detained over 140 house church leaders from all over China during
raids on two gatherings, one in Wugang and the other in Nanyang, both in Henan province. Some detainees, held
either in Fangcheng prison in Wugang or at Nanyang No.1 Detention Center, were reportedly abused and tortured.
Police officers reportedly beat one church activist, Cheng Meiying, into unconsciousness with a water-soaked hemp
rope and a heavy club before releasing her. She had been instrumental in setting up house churches in Hebei,
Heilongjiang, and Inner Mongolia.
November 7, 1998 - Activist detained for attempts to register rights group
Police in Changsha, Hunan province, detained Xie Changfa a day after he applied to establish the China Association
to Protect Citizens' Rights and Interests. Xie's family was informed that he would remain in detention for ten days
for "disturbing social order." The detention reportedly was Xie's sixth this year, the last in early October when
British Prime Minister Blair visited China. Xie was formerly a cadre at the Changsha Steel Factory and the
Changsha city government, and also served as a township head in Liuyang County. He served two years'
reeducation through labor for his 1989 pro-democracy activities.
November 9, 1998 - Another CDP branch announced
In defiance of a government ban, Xu Wenli and five other dissidents announced the establishment of the Beijing-Tianjin branch of the China Democracy Party, with Xu as chairman. In its statement, the group declared that as
China has no law governing the formation of political parties, there is no requirement for registration. The day of
the announcement, the family of Tianjin-based Lu Honglai said they had lost contact with him after he left home for
Beijing to visit Xu. Lu served a four-year term beginning in 1981 for his editorship of a magazine during the
Democracy Wall period (1979-81). Xu's dissident activities, also dating back to the Democracy Wall period, earned
him a fifteen-year sentence. He served over twelve years before his 1993 release on parole. On November 10, the
day following the announcement, another branch member, vice-chair Zha Jianguo, reportedly disappeared and may
have been detained.
November 1998 - Election of CDP supporter nullified
After Yu Tielong, a China Democracy Party member, ran as an independent candidate for village chief of
Wangshanding, Zhejiang province, and won the thirteen-person preliminary round, Party members nullified the
results. Yu, a Chinese medicine practitioner, lost the second round.
November 17, 1998 - Death sentence for running prostitution ring
On November 17, a Beijing court sentenced Ma Yulan to death for "organizing a prostitution ring." She is believed
to be the first person to receive the death penalty for the offense as incorporated into the revised Criminal Law.
Eight others were sentenced to terms ranging between one-and-a-half and eight years in connection with the case.
November 1998 - Seven-year sentence for poet
Ma Zhe, detained on January 26, 1998 and later charged with "disturbing the social order," was sentenced to a
seven-year prison term for subversion in November 1998. He and three other poets, Li Xi, Wu Ruohai, and Xiong
Jinren, had planned to publish an independent literary journal and, as part of their "renaissance movement," called
for political reform and cultural revival. Wu Ruohai and Xiong Jinren were held only briefly, but Li Xi received a
three-year reeducation through labor term in April 1998 as did Wu's brother Wu Ruojie, a rock musician. The latter
was accused of leaking state secrets because he publicized news of the detentions.
November 18, 1998 - Der Spiegel journalist expelled
After security officers invaded the office of Jurgen Kremb, a veteran correspondent for the German magazine Der
Spiegel, they announced he was in possession of confidential documents and ordered that he leave the country
within forty-eight hours. The expulsion order is to remain in effect for five years. At the time of the search, Kremb
had already moved to Singapore on assignment and was in China only temporarily to research a final article.
November 20, 1998 - Activists detained during CDP meeting
Police in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, forcibly ended a political meeting at the home of Wu Yilong, taking Wu
into custody and confiscating a fax machine, some documents, and an address book. Li Guotao and Yao Zhenxian
were returned to Shanghai, their home city, for detention; Mao Qingxiang was released the following day. Zhu
Zhengming, who had earlier tried to register the CDP, and Wang Rongqing also attended the meeting which had
been called to discuss the government's crackdown on the China Democracy Party. Li, at one time president of the
unofficial Shanghai Association for Human Rights, was last arrested in Shanghai in May 1994. He served a
two-year term for involvement in the 1989 pro-democracy movement.
November 20, 1998 - Activist warned against Tiananmen Square protest
Public Security Bureau officers held Shandong activist Xie Wanjun for four hours on November 20, warning him
that a planned one-person demonstration in Tiananmen Square to protest his persecution for China Democracy Party
activism would result in his arrest. Following Xie's two-week detention in September for trying to register the party,
his wife was fired from her teaching job and his electricity and telephone services disconnected. Xie canceled his
November 21, 1998 - Police kill fleeing Tibetan youth
Fifteen-year-old Yeshe Dundrup died in the hospital the morning after Chinese border police shot at him as he tried
to cross the Chinese border into Nepal. At the time of the incident, he was one among a large group of Tibetans
trying to outrun the police. Dundrup's family was awarded 40,000 renminbi (approximately U.S.$5,000) in
compensation. A second youth, shot in the leg, survived and is believed to still be in Tibet.
November 21, 1998 - Uighur held without charge
Police officers held Kahriman Abdukirim overnight in a local lockup after removing him from his workplace. They
then transferred him to the Urumqi City (Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region) Detention Center. The reason for
his detention is unknown, although an Amnesty International report suggests it may be related to his part in political
discussions and to his work as secretary for Rebiya Kadeer, a Uighur businesswoman. She has been under
restriction since 1997 for her efforts to assist Uighur women and possibly because of the alleged opposition
activities of her husband who is in exile in the U.S.
November 22, 1998 - Catholic priest held
Father Zuo Junhua, from Jiangxi province, was detained on November 22, 1998. No additional details are available.
November 23, 1998 - Seven from environmental and political reform group detained
Beijing police detained seven members of the China Development Union (CDU) on November 23, confiscating
documents, computers, and a copy machine during the raid. CDU head Peng Ming was released after two hours of
questioning. Fellow members Yi Gai, head of the Hunan Students Autonomous Federation Liaison Department
during the 1989 pro-democracy movement, Wang Linjian, Wen Dehao, Gao Quan and Chu Weiyan were held for
several days. The CDU, which claimed 3,000 members at the time of its first national meeting in early October,
originally promoted political reform, a democratic and constitutional government, and "amelioration of human rights
conditions," and took up the issues of corruption and problems in rural areas. It has also promoted a healthy
environment and sustainable development. Plans for members to visit the United States in early November were
canceled after the group was forced to disband. The CDU was part of the China New Strategy Development
Institute, a think-tank sponsored by the China International Cultural Dissemination Centre, a branch of the Ministry
of Public Security. The Ministry has severed its ties with CDU and is suing the Institute for 1,000,000 renminbi
(U.S.$120,000) for defamation.
November 23, 1998 - Li Peng decries multi-party politics
In a lengthy November 23 interview with a German journalist, Li Peng, former premier and now head of the
National People's Congress, spoke out against multi-party politics, linking attempts to form independent political
parties to the chaos of the Cultural Revolution (1996-76). "If," he said, "[an organization] is designed to go for the
multi-party system and try to negate the leadership of the Communist Party, then it will not be allowed to exist." Li
went on to criticize the political systems of the West, decrying the "boisterous chaos"of Western legislatures. And
he defended the government's position on the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. A month before Li's interview, the
State Council promulgated Regulations on the Registration and Management of Social Groups, a move which
tightens government control over all private social organizations. All such groups must be registered to be legal;
government officials are the final arbiters of which ones meet the stringent new qualifications.
November 24, 1998 - Dissident banned from standing for election
Election authorities denied Beijing dissident He Depu the opportunity to stand for election to the Beijing People's
Congress even though he had collected more than three times the required number of signatures The thirty-two
workers at the No. 503 Beijing Military Aviation Machinery Factory who signed his petition were called in by
factory management and told He's candidacy was invalid and that constituency lines required redrawing. In addition
to He, Gao Hongming, a trade-union activist, and Wang Zhixin, who had been a student leader in Beijing in 1989,
were placed under surveillance.
November 25, 1998 - Student stages on-line protest over Internet costs
Nanjing University economics student Huang Zhenjiang, who had set up a web page on November 23 protesting the
high price charged by state-run China Telecom for Internet access, was warned by authorities to cancel the message.
On November 25, when he posted notice of his withdrawal from the campaign, he already had received 889 e-mails
supporting his protest.
November 27, 1998 - Environmental activist sues government over institute closing
China Development Union (CDU) head Peng Ming sued the Beijing Civil Affairs Bureau for closing down the
China New Strategy Development Institute, the research organ of the CDU. According to his suit, both the Institute
and the CDU were registered in Hong Kong and therefore were not answerable to Beijing. The Dongcheng District
Court agreed to hear the case.
November 27, 1998 - Writer on trial for subversion
Anhui writer Liu Xianli was tried on November 27 in Beijing No.1 Intermediate Court for plotting to overthrow the
government. No verdict was announced at the conclusion of the one-day trial. Liu was detained in March 1998 after
he traveled to Beijing to interview prominent dissidents for a book he is writing about the Chinese dissident
November 28, 1998 - Media told to work toward social stability
In a speech to a national conference in Beijing, Party propaganda head Ding Guang'en called on the media to
exercise self control to help maintain stability.
November 30, 1998 - Wang Youcai charged
On December 2, two days after China Democracy Party founder Wang Youcai was charged with "conspiracy to
subvert state power," his case was handed over to state prosecutors. Formal charges include accepting funds from
overseas, using e-mail to distribute materials abroad, and organizing a meeting of party supporters.
November 30, 1998 - Xu Wenli detained
Some twenty officials with a search and arrest warrant labeling him a "criminal suspect," detained Beijing-based
democracy activist Xu Wenli, then conducted a four hour search of his home, seizing his computer, printer, fax
machine, and various documents related to the China Democracy Party. Since Xu's return to activism in 1996, the
Public Security Bureau has kept a constant watch on him, frequently hauling him in for questioning. Surveillance
increased after he and Qin Yongmin formed the China Human Rights Observer in March 1998. (See November 9.)
November 30, 1998 - Qin Yongmin detained
On December 1, a day after security officers took dissident Qin Yongmin into custody, his family was informed that
he was under arrest for "plotting to overthrow state power." Qin was a co-founder of the Beijing-Tianjin branch of
the China Democracy Party (CDP). During the past two years, Qin has been briefly but repeatedly detained and
subject to surveillance, harassment, and confiscation of electronic equipment used to issue human rights reports and
keep in contact with other activists. After he joined with Xu Wenli in March 1998 to form the China Human Rights
Observer, the harassment increased. Qin served a seven-year term in connection with the Democracy Wall
movement (1979-81) and a two-year reeducation term in 1994-95. Other CDP members were taken into custody
after a speech in a public park demanding political reforms. They included Chen Zhonghe, Lu Xinhua and Xiao
Shichang, all from Wuhan; and Lai Jinbiao, from Zhejiang. Xiao and Chen were released in less than three days but
were picked up again later in the week and held a few days for planning a protest letter on behalf of Qin Yongmin.
December 1998 - Reeducation sentence for dissident
Xu Wanping, sentenced to a three-year reeducation through labor term in December 1998 for his part in trying to
register the China Democracy Party, is being held in Xishanping Labor Camp in Chongqing. Xu served an eight-year term for his part in the 1989 pro-democracy movement.
December 2, 1998 - Police seize house church leader
Public security officers arrested Guangzhou house church preacher Li Dexian in a raid on his "meeting place" and
seized Bibles and other property. Officials told Li's family that he would be held for fifteen days for "illegal
preaching," and that other charges could follow. Li is used to police scrutiny. In 1994-5, he was seized four times in
four months. During those raids, Li was severely beaten. Police also smashed or confiscated church and personal
property and extracted heavy fines.
December 1998 - Some trials open to public
The government announced in Beijing that some trials would be open to the public. Excluded are those cases
involving state or commercial secrets or those which impinge on personal privacy. Application to attend can be
made only by Chinese citizens and then only in advance. Applications from anyone believed to be a possible danger
or disturbance to the court can be rejected.
December 3, 1998 - Fifteen executed in Xinjiang
According to China's Legal Daily, the Xinjiang Higher People's Court ordered the executions of fifteen people in
thirteen separate cases. As is common practice in China, the executions were carried out immediately after the
judgements were announced. With the exception of a brother and sister condemned to death for a murder during an
armed robbery, no information was available about the others' crimes.
December 4, 1998 - Other CDP supporters detained
Wang Zechen and Wang Wenjiang, activists who collected over one hundred signatures on a petition protesting the
government crackdown on the China Democracy Party, were detained in their hometown, Anshan, Liaoning
province. Both men were released the following day. Wang Zhenyun, from Shandong, and Zhai Weimin, from
Henan, also were briefly detained for questioning after they began a hunger strike demanding the release of CDP
activists Wang Youcai, Qin Yongmin, and Xu Wenli.
December 4, 1998 - Ren Wanding warned against political party activity
Authorities in Beijing detained long-time activist Ren Wanding for three hours, warning him to stop all activity
related to the China Democracy Party and threatening to confiscate his computer and cut his phone line. Since
completing his seven-year sentence in June 1996 for his part in the Tiananmen Square protests, Ren has been
subject to repeated harassment and surveillance, including prohibition on receiving guests or going outside during
sensitive anniversaries or visits by foreign dignitaries. At the end of October, the Public Security Bureau refused to
process his application for a passport.
December 1998 - Reeducation campaign results in arrests
Seven Tibetan monks from Kirti monastery in Sichuan province, and two laymen, Dragpa Khako and Wotse, were
detained in November and early December in Aba county after the monks failed to comply with reeducation
directives. Two of the seven were severely beaten and released. The protests were reportedly led by twenty-three
year-old Lobsang Sherab, whose whereabouts remain uncertain. The arrests came after monks ignored reeducation
officials' warnings that they would be detained if they refused to sign documents pledging allegiance to the Chinese
government and if they continued to display pictures of the Dalai Lama.
December 5, 1998 - 'Big Spender' executed
Gangster Cheung Tze-keung, colloquially known as "Big Spender," was promptly executed along with four
members of his gang after his appeal was dismissed by a Guangdong judge. The case raised serious rule of law
concerns because the case was tried in China but the crimes were committed in Hong Kong. According to the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong's Kong's Basic Law, China's criminal law is not applicable to Hong Kong.
December 1998 - Reeducation terms for labor activists
Li Jinhua and Yan Jinhong, former employees at Fuqiang Iron and Steel Factory in Sichuan province, were
sentenced in December to eighteen-month and one-year terms respectively for their part as leaders of an October 21
protest by 500 laid-off workers who had not received their stipends. A third man, Liu Dingkui, was charged with
"illegal gathering and obstruction of justice."
December 8, 1998 - More CDP members held
Local police detained China Democracy Party member and Fujian Province Mining Bureau worker Zhang Baoqin
after searching his home in Changle without a warrant and confiscating CDP documents and address books. He was
one of a group of CDP supporters who issued a statement calling for release of their colleagues. Liu Xianbin, from
Suining, Sichuan province, also was detained after a search of his home turned up CDP-related documents. Liu
spent two years in prison for his 1989 pro-democracy work. In March 1998, he signed a petition to the National
People's Congress urging better protection of human rights and the release of political prisoners. Others detained
around the same time include Ouyang Yi and She Wanbao.
December 9, 1998 - Activist flees China
Fearing re-arrest, Shanghai businessman Yao Zhenxian fled China eight months after he was released from a two-year reeducation through labor sentence on a trumped-up charge of duplicating and distributing pornographic
videotapes. His detention was related to his resumption of dissident activity and his membership in the China
Democracy Party. Yao's brother, Yao Zhenxiang, a long-time financier of Shanghai's human rights movement,
remains in detention in Dafeng Labor Farm (Jiangsu province).
December 10, 1998 - Exiled activist under arrest
Exiled activist Wang Ce, who secretly entered China to present a letter to the Chinese People's Political
Consultative Congress concerning political reform, was formally arrested and charged with "sponsoring criminal
activities that endanger the state's safety" and "furtive border crossing." He was one of a group of activists taken
into custody on November 2 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. The group included China Democracy Party founder
Wang Youcai; Li Li, a dissident based in Spain; Huang Heqing, and Chen Guangming, Wang Ce, who left China in
1983 to pursue a doctorate in political science, is chair of the overseas Chinese Liberal Democratic Party-Alliance
for a Democratic China. A Spanish resident for the past ten years, he received political asylum in 1994, the same
year his application to renew his Chinese passport was rejected. Wang was an active participant in the 1979-81
Democracy Wall Movement.
December 10, 1998 - Two held in planned protest
Police briefly detained Yang Wei and Hu Mingjun, both from Sichuan province, in an effort to break up a
nationwide hunger strike to protest the arrest of Wang Youcai.
December 11, 1998 - Wang Youcai's lawyer detained
Railroad police picked up Wang Wenjiang, the lawyer preparing to defend Wang Youcai, in Anshan, Liaoning
province, as he was boarding a Hangzhou-bound train.
December 12, 1998 - Zhejiang activist detained in run-up to Wang Youcai trial
Police detained Zhejiang dissident Luo Yugen after he printed five hundred copes of a document about CDP
founder Wang Youcai's upcoming trial.
December 12, 1998 - CDP vice-chair in custody
On December 12, five days before the scheduled trial of Qin Yongmin, Police detained Wei Linwen, vice-chair of
the China Democracy Party's Hubei branch.
December 14, 1998 - Campaigner taken into custody
Zhejiang-based activist Xu Guang was taken into custody after attempting to organize a signature campaign on
behalf of China Democracy Party activist Wang Youcai.
December 14, 1998 - Open letter on behalf of Wang Youcai
A group of 184 dissidents from fourteen provinces signed an open letter to President Jiang Zemin asking for a fair
and open trial for Wang Youcai.
December 15-16, 1998 - Authorities round up activists
Just days before the trials of China Democracy Party leaders Wang Youcai, Qin Yongmin, and Xu Wenli,
authorities in Hangzhou detained at least eleven CDP members, among them Wu Yilong, Mao Qingxiang, Zhu
Zhengming, Li Shian, Yu Yuanhong, Lai Jinbiao, Wang Rongqing, Yang Jianming, Zhu Yufu, Yu Tielong, and
Wang Peijian. They had planned to join with other local activists and with many from outside the city at the
Hangzhou courthouse and demand access to Wang's trial. (See November 20.)
December 17, 1998 - Beijing jams Voice of Tibet
China successfully blocked the Norway-based, independent Voice of Tibet by assigning its frequency to Radio
Canada International's English service.
December 18, 1998 - Jiang targets subversive activity
In a speech marking the twentieth anniversary of economic reform, President Jiang Zemin promised to eliminate
subversive activity. "From beginning to end, we must be vigilant against infiltration, subversive activities, and
separatist activities of international and domestic hostile forces," Jiang said.
December 18, 1998 -Media ordered to stop discussion of political reform
In an effort to ensure stability, Party authorities have told the media to steer clear of discussing political reform or
drafts of a proposed journalism law which originally was intended to lessen censorship. The authorities said non-controversial subjects such as campaigns to root out corruption and smuggling should be given full coverage.
December 20, 1999 - Liu Nianchun released into exile
Five months before his three-year reeducation through labor term was to end, Liu Nianchun was released into exile
in the U.S. He had been in custody since his disappearance on May 21, 1995. Liu, brother of Liu Qing, a leading
U.S.-based human rights campaigner, was active in a 1995 drive petitioning the National People's Congress for
rectification of human rights violations. He was a principal sponsor of the 1993 League for the Protection of the
Rights of the Working People and an active advocate of independent trade unions.
December 21-22, 1998 - Xu Wenli, Wang Youcai, and Qin Yongmin sentenced
On the same day, the Hangzhou Intermediate Court sentenced Wang Youcai to an eleven-year term. The
charge was the same, "conspiring to subvert state power." Wang's trial on December 17 lasted two and a half hours.
When his lawyer, Wang Wenjiang, finally resigned after four short detentions in four days, Wang was forced to
defend himself. He, too, was repeatedly interrupted by the judges, who finally refused to permit him to complete his
statement. Some family members were allowed into the courtroom, but international observers and journalists were
The next day, Qin Yongmin received a twelve-year sentence for "conspiracy to subvert state power."
Authorities turned down a request by Qin's father to delay the case because no lawyer would agree to defend Qin.
In January 1999, Qin was transferred to Shayang prison in Hubei province. (See November 2 and November 20.)
Beijing Intermediate Court No.1 sentenced fifty-five year-old Xu Wenli to a thirteen-year prison term for
"conspiring to subvert state power." Charges included helping to organize the China Democracy Party, receiving
funds from abroad, promoting independent trade unions, and giving interviews to foreign correspondents. During
the three-and-a-half hour trial, Xu was represented by an attorney with whom he had met only once and then only
briefly four days before his trial. The presiding judge refused to allow Xu to complete a closing statement in his
own defense. Police kept press at a distance during the ostensibly open trial; no foreign observers were permitted
December 23, 1998 - New rules governing "subversive" publications
On December 23, the Supreme People's Court declared that, "anyone who knowingly publishes, prints, copies, or
distributes material containing incitement to overthrow state power and the socialist system or split the country"
could be tried for "crimes of incitement to split the country or incitement to overthrow state power." Such charges
could result in life sentences for film directors, computer software developers, writers and artists, and media and
publishing personnel, all of whom are subject to the new directive.
December 27, 1998 - Ten-year sentence for radio interview
After a secret trial lasting less than three hours, Zhang Shanguang was sentenced by the Huaihua (Hunan province)
Intermediate Court to a prison term of ten years and five years' subsequent deprivation of political rights for
"providing intelligence to institutions outside the borders." Zhang, who was detained on July 21, 1998 and formally
arrested on August 28, was accused of providing information to the U.S. government-sponsored Radio Free Asia
about farmer protests in rural Xupu county in March 1998. His attempts to establish the Association to Protect the
Rights and Interests of Laid-off Workers in the county probably contributed to the harshness of his sentence. Zhang
had served seven years in prison for his 1989 pro-democracy activities as a member of the Hunan Workers
December 28, 1998 - Activist from Inner Mongolia detained
Ding Guixiong, a former factory worker and CDP member, was detained in Wuyuan county, Inner Mongolia, after
being called in for questioning four times in one month.
December 29, 1998 - Exiled dissidents sentenced
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that exiled dissidents Zhang Lin and Wei Quanbao, who had secretly
returned to China, had been administratively sentenced to three-year reeducation through labor terms. They
reportedly were caught in a brothel in Guangzhou on November 12. The two were charged with visiting prostitutes
and evading police officers. Authorities identified both men as members of the U.S.- based China Democratic
Justice Party, which the government considers subversive. Zhang, a labor activist from Bengbu, Anhui province,
and an organizer of the 1993 League for the Protection of the Rights of the Working People, was released from an
earlier re-education sentence on June 1, 1997, having served a three-year term on the spurious charge of never
having registered his marriage. Earlier, in connection with his activities as head of the Student Autonomous Union
in Bengbu City during the 1989 pro-democracy movement, he served most of a two-year term for
"counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement."
December 30, 1998 - Guangzhou paper shut down; another ordered to dismiss staff
Cultural Times, a newspaper published by the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, was shut down by the
Guangzhou Municipal Press and Publishing Bureau. Also in December, the management of the Yuegang Xinxi
Ribao (Guangdong-Hong Kong Information Daily) was fired on the orders of Guangdong's Chinese Communist
Party for violating news reporting regulations, publicizing bourgeois-liberalization, and printing news that interfered
with government and Party work. Among the articles cited was one on Islam that allegedly sabotaged the country's
nationalities policy, and another that questioned whether the official 1998 target growth rate of 8 percent could be
realized. The paper, which started in 1993, had published over 100 editions.
December 30, 1998 - Crackdown on "illegal" publications
Beijing Spring Turns to Winter: China Toughens Stance on Human Rights - Campaigns Page
Official Chinese sources reported 2,800 people had been detained in 1998 for involvement printing or selling illegal
publications including pornography and politically sensitive materials. Some 190 people have been sentenced and
72,000 illegal political publications seized. The Zhending County (Hebei province) People's Court sentenced Wang
Suozhu to a thirteen-year term and twelve others to terms ranging upward from five years after local authorities
seized printing plates and some 50,000 copies of a pirated political book. In addition, those convicted were fined
between 100,000 (U.S.$12,500) and 200,000 renminbi. Beijing resident Li Qun was sentenced to a three-year term
and a 5,000 renminbi fine for selling illegal political publications at the railway station. Mao Yuanjun and Fan
Yongsong were both picked up in Tianjin for sale of books with "serious political implications." They received
seven- and six-year terms respectively.